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Lion wibound to strengthen and to shelter them against all inroads those
funboly influence. And moreover : our vow binds us not
nly to avoid the desecrating and deteriorating action of is bapis eciety, but to give ourselves up with singleness of aim to is, the be help and guidance of such minds and examples, and to urch much habits and counsels of spiritual wisdom, as shall most oliness Cirectly promote the unfolding and perfecting of the life of with it lod which is in us.
And now, before I conclude, I will notice one general nd yet hjection which may be expected to what has been advanced. on it, will be said, that this is a theory; that it is impracticable;
at to adopt it men must go jato the wilderness with St. once, er ihn Baptist; that they must forsake the duties of life, and ion of interchange of courtesies and kindness, which we are in its ow und to maintain.
answer to all this, we need do no more than recall
example of our blessed Lord. He lived in the world; of its work lay in it; He went to the houses of publicans,
went without fear, because He was perfect. It is absoto " why necessary to our safety that we should go with fear, have ause we are sinners. Nevertheless, His example will
lorant to us the lawfulness of mixing in the world as our And es and obligation require. What has been said ought dangerlach us these two things: first, to use great and discommupinating care in choosing the friends and families with t of life we mix, and the occasions and festivities in which
, ; not eafin. This principle of spiritual discernment, foresight, ency i'aution, alone can keep us from serious entanglements, e do it may be, from grievous falls. I know of no lines of
and Yard demarcation, nor any sufficent catalogue, distind exciting worldly from innocent amusements : our safeguard n our bill be in ourselves. And the next thing we should leara collecthen we can avoid even such intercourse as is lawful,
o rayer, . And
to do so.
“ All things to me are lawful, but all things are not expedient. All things to me are lawful, but all things edify not."* It is far better to bestow the time which we can rescue from the world in things that will deepen the work of God in our hearts, and perfect our repentance. Or if we think well to go, let us go with a heart estranged
, from the fair and smooth things of this perishing world,from its honors, powers, pleasures, and refinements. None ever graced a marriage-feast as He who knew not the very taste of earthly happiness. None was ever so meek, gentle, and benign as He that was alive to God alone. So let us strive to mingle among men-to toil with them, sorrow with them, rejoice with them; to visit their homes, and partake of their hospitality, and not turn even from their days of festival-praying always in secret that we may be sheltered under His last intercession : "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are;" “ they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world ;” “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”+
* 1 Cor. vi. 12.
# St. John xvii. 11, 15, 16.
POVERTY A HOLY STATE.
2 Cor. viii. 9. "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was
rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.”
St. Paul is here stirring up the Corinthians to give alms to the poor saints, by the voluntary poverty of our Lord. He tells them of the Macedonians, who, in the spirit of His example, made large offerings out of their “deep poverty ;" and says that they “first gave their own selves to the Lord,” and, with themselves, all that they had to His service. He then says, “Ye know the grace," the freeness and largeness of the charity of Christ, who, “though He was rich,” in His eternal kingdom, in the bliss of His Father, “yet for your sakes He became poor;" stripped Himself of His heavenly state, laid aside His glory, "made Himself of no reputation;" was made man, hungered, thirsted; was weary, wandered without a place where to lay His head; suffered all shame, hardship, pain, and death ; that through this, His poverty of all things, heavenly and earthly, ye, in the remission of sins, the cleansing of the soul, the grace of adoption, and the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven, "might be rich.”
Some perhaps might have expected that, at the coming of the Son of God into the world, He would have assumed the power and disposal of all things by which the world is maintained and governed ; that is to say, that He would have carried on openly, and by a visible disposal, the divine administration of worldly affairs, as He ever does in secret ; that His providence would have been manifested in His person. Of course, no one would expect that He should have affected earthly state or greatness: the very thought can hardly be expressed without a sin. It seems - almost like the suggestion of Satan when he shewed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. And yety, wc might have expected Him to be openly greater than all powers
of the earth; to have made them acknowledge Him, and yield, as the wind and the waves did, to the power of His word. But, on the contrary, no man was ever lower in the world than He-more outcast, destitute, weak, and forsaken ; none, perhaps, ever hungered oftener, or thirsted more, or wandered so wearily; was so banished, not from kings palaces, and princes' courts, and the houses ofi great men, and the company of the soft, high, rich, and noble, but from home and hearth, and from the shelter and charities of life. Surely as the world had never seen before an example of such perfect holiness, so it had never seen such perfect and willing poverty. In the Gospels we read af His passing whole nights on the mountain, and in the fourua watch upon the sea.. Once we read that He went "upto Bethany, and lodged there,""* in the house of a
, fipiend, the stranger's home. His life He began and ended 14 a wanderer, from the stable to the sepulchro. So true
* St. Matt xxi, 17.
to the letter were His words, “Foxes have holes, and
, birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Of His own He had little but His raiment ; even His daily food, they that followed Him. "ministered to Him of their substance."*
Now this absolute destitution of all things needful for our bodily life was, without doubt, a designed feature in His humiliation. When He took upon Him our manhood, He took it with all its capacities of suffering; and He placed Himself, so to speak, in that position in the life of man whiere all the sorrows which came with sin into the world were surest to light upon Him. Weariness, toil, cold, hunger, loneliness, and shame, which are the portion of the destitute, He chose as His lot, and tasted in their sharpest forms. And He thereby learned to sympathise with the universal sufferings of humanity. He became a Saviour, not of any class or condition of men, but of all mankind : of man as man in his fallen, suffering, sorrowing humanity. It is this that gives to the poor a peculiar share in the sympathy of Christ. No man ever was so burdened, naked,
, desolate, but He was more so. His example has consecrated the state of poverty, and converted it into a discipline, and bestowed upon it a special grace. It is this tbat we will now consider.
1. First of all, the poverty of Christ is intended as an example to all men. To His earliest followers He gave the precept of poverty; He made it binding on them ; He made it even the condition of entering His service and His kingdom. “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven;" or, as St. Mark records the same command, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to
* St. Luke vüïi. 3.